ARTrepreneur of the Month–September 2014

| September 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Lucky Murphy and Lisa Edding at the opening of L&L Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Steve Block / The Chronicle-News.

Lucky Murphy and Lisa Edding at the opening of L&L Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Steve Block / The Chronicle-News.

Lucky Murphy is the owner of L&L Fine Art Gallery located on Main Street in Trinidad, Colorado. He is an entrepreneur, framer, chef, gallery owner, philanthropist and the September 2014 ARTrepreneur of the Month.

1) Tell me your story. When and why did you get into art?
I don’t do much art myself, instead I enjoy placing art. As a young man I fell in love with some of the art I saw, I got excited and wanted to know more. So, I worked for a gallery in Los Angeles and was exposed to Picasso, Andy Warhol, Gustav Klimt, and got to meet top artists such as Peter Max at festivals. I got interested in collecting art and then selling. In fact, I decorated a lot of model homes at Laguna Beach.

2) Tell us about your involvement with the Trinidad community.
I heard about Trinidad for years and visited, hoping to see what was around. It’s a wonderful small town and I thought I’d go ahead and make it my home. There is a niceness to Trinidad. It’s a quiet, sleepy little town. You know everybody and everyone knows you by name. Even the local newspaper has a hard time finding a story that the people don’t already know. It’s also amazing the amount of quality and talented artists that live here, but I didn’t see a gallery for them. There were a couple co-ops in town and a couple studios but no galleries. That’s when I opened L&L Fine Art Gallery.

3) Tell us more about your gallery.
L&L Fine Art Gallery is in the heart of Main Street and located across from the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art. It gives Trinidad artists a permanent place to showcase and sell their artwork in the community, and features artists such as Patsi Wolfe, M.C. Hess, Frank LaLumia, Paula Little, and Lois Peterson. I’m very selective. This is the best of Trinidad. I had a friend from New York visit and he said that it looks like a New York fine art gallery.

L&L is a non-profit gallery so all the money raised stays here in Las Animas County. In the front of the gallery 70% of the proceeds go back to the artists and 30% goes to the Community Chest. In the back of the gallery I offer affordable custom framing to raise overhead to keep the gallery open. I’ve been in the framing business for 45 years and provide services for the locals since there isn’t a lot here—I’ve framed art for people in Denver, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The gallery is open from 11-5 p.m, 7 days a week.

An oil painting by Trinidad artist Paula Little is featured in L&L Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Lucky Murphy.

An oil painting by Trinidad artist Paula Little is featured in L&L Fine Art Gallery. Photo by Lucky Murphy.

4) What is the Community Chest?
I’ve always been involved in charities like Relay for Life, so I got with Lisa Edding and we created a grassroots nonprofit called the Community Chest. The Community Chest raises immediate money for local cancer patients and their families. These patients have to drive to Denver for chemotherapy and this organization helps with gas, lodging, and food. It’s a nice thing to do, since Community Chest has already assisted so many families.

5) What are some challenges in the art business or local art scene?
One challenge is that Trinidad is not a Santa Fe, but it’s amazing the amount of talent that is here. This town is worth stopping by, and the people who do are amazed with the quantity and quality of art here. We’re slowly changing the dynamics. This is a very active community. The town was built for a population of 4,000. We have 9,000 people and small community college with a wonderful art teacher.

6) What advice do you have for new and upcoming artists?
Quality sells. It does. People are looking to building their home/nest with something they can relate to and enjoy—whether it’s a poster or print. People collect at all levels from a department store to gallery. I see a lot of young artists who can draw really well, but I encourage these artists to go out and learn the technique from a master. I knew an artist who took a class by Kevin Larmon and learned his technique so well that people thought Kevin painted it. You need to learn from the professionals then develop your own style. Art is fun, and you can make a living from it, but there are a lot of artists who can’t.

7) Do you have any upcoming events?
I do something free every day. I was behind the Trinidad Opera House this morning pulling weeds and it’s going to take me 3 to 4 days to do that. At around Thanksgiving, I’ll be doing a silent auction for 10-15 pieces from my private art collection to raise money for the Community Chest. This fall I’m planning an event to raise funds for supplies for a local art class. I’m also doing a Murder Mystery Dinner to raise money for the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre. And a pancake breakfast to raise funds for Noah’s Ark, the local animal shelter. I do so many things in one day. In a little town it’s fun and easy to give back to the community.

Trinidad musician, Ed Shaw, performing in L&L Fine Art Gallery at a Last Friday Art Walk. Photo by Lucky Murphy.

Trinidad musician, Ed Shaw, performing in L&L Fine Art Gallery at a Last Friday Art Walk. Photo by Lucky Murphy.

8) Anything else you’d like to share?
I love art and music. I have vintage music posters hanging in the gallery from the 1960s. We have a tremendous musical talent in Trinidad and I like to get musicians involved with L&L Fine Art Gallery. We have a Last Friday Art Walk and have local musicians, like Ed Shaw, play in front of the gallery. Music is good for a gallery. My life is full that way.

For more information and event dates, visit Lucky Murphy at L & L Gallery located at 149 E. Main Street #8, Trinidad, CO 81082 or call 719-680-0679.

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Category: ARTrepreneurship

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